Admittedly, over Christmas I eat treats, a lot of treats. At a certain point I become saturated, stuffed to the top with sugar, chocolate, butter, and other terribly wonderful substances. Dinner is a slapdash affair, left over dip, sliced deli meat, a hunk of stollen. I begin to mourn veggies, tofu, and fruit smoothies, for they have been squeezed out, replaced by the pre-Christmas pickings.
Right now, a pile, no, a small mountain (think Finlayson, not Baker) of cookies rests on my counter, offerings for the weekend’s festivities. But I am not tempted. I, the ultimate sweet-tooth, ate a mere half of a cookie, and a good cookie at that, and my head spun. I’m finished on cookies, maybe forever, more likely until tomorrow.
This year, thank goodness, I thought in advance. Anticipating the ambush of sweetness, I checked out my new favourite veggie cookbook from the library, Fresh at Home, which was written by the owner of Fresh restaurants in Toronto. Healthy rice bowls, salads, and smoothies populate this book. Thus I am armed and ready. During the holiday bonanza, I like to prepare lighter meals, fresh meals. For instance, yesterday’s dinner consisted of warm bread (prepared by yours truly), soup (oh, me again), and salad (naturally). Soup in the fridge is a must. Throw some in a pot on the stove and dinner is ready in a matter of minutes. And trust me, it should be filling enough after the Friday afternoon staff treat-fest in the break room, the box of gratitude chocolates left on the counter, and the mocha that accompanied your stampede through the mall before heading home.
Typically, I look in the fridge before deciding what soup to make. Yesterday I looked on the fridge, at the pumpkin which has been loitering there for the past couple weeks. With a sweet potato on the counter, I was ready to liquefy.
This soup is really quite nice, with a smooth, sweet flavour, compliments of the sweet potato and a little maple syrup. In addition, roasting the veggie before tossing them in the pot brings out their best.
Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Toss together the following:
1 small sweet, or pie, pumpkin skinned and cubed (think bite-sized)
1 large sweet potato skinned and cubed
1 TBP olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Roast on a large cookie sheet in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and roasted. Be sure to mix the veggies a couple of times during the roasting to ensure that the cook evenly.
When the veggies are nearly done, in a large pot use a little olive oil to sauté:
One medium onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, diced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
When the onions soften, remove half from the pot and place in a food processor. Add half of the pumpkin/sweet potato mixture and a tiny splash of water. Puree until smooth. Now, put the puree and the remaining pumpkin/sweet potato mixture in the pot and add:
2 cups veggie stock (I use a good-quality veggie cube. If you make stock, even better.)
1 cup water
2 tsp maple syrup
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
If the soup seems thin, don’t worry it will thicken as it cooks. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Now, in the oven or a frying pan cook:
2 good quality sausages (they should be raw when you buy them)
Chop the sausage and add it to the soup. Let the soup simmer for at least 5 minutes with the addition of the sausages. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if needed. Also, add water if the soup has become too thick. You are ready to serve!